Celtics Champ Reveals Discussed Jaylen Brown Blockbuster Trade

Danny Ainge reached out to Kendrick Perkins to discuss Jaylen Brown trade

Getty Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown.

Don’t panic Celtics fans, Jaylen Brown isn’t going anywhere. The reigning All-Star has cemented himself as a franchise cornerstone and a pivotal piece in Boston’s quest towards an 18th NBA title. However, around this time one year ago, Brown’s standing within the organization was far less guaranteed — that is amongst the public eye.

Before James Harden ultimately landed in Brooklyn last season, the Celtics were long rumored to be in talks with the Houston Rockets about potentially bringing the disgruntled former league MVP to Beantown. With Jayson Tatum deemed untouchable, it was Brown who was the Celtic most readily dangled in trade talks. As the story goes, then-team president Danny Ainge and the C’s organization came to the joint conclusion that Houston’s asking price was simply too steep for them to bite (as Ainge discussed back in January with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich”).

Recently, former Celtics champion and current NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins recalled a phone call he shared with Ainge during the process. The latter reached out to Perkins to pick his brain on if the team should potentially send a Brown-centric package Houston’s way for Harden (via NBC Sports Boston’s Justin Leger).

Ainge to Perkins: ‘Are You Kidding Me?’

“I remember last year around this time when teams were calling about James Harden and Houston actually wanted Jaylen Brown,” Perkins said on Celtics Pregame Live. “I was on the phone with Danny Ainge for an hour, and I remember how our conversation went. He was like, ‘Hey, Perk, would you trade Jaylen Brown for James Harden?’ And I was like, ‘Danny, you know how I feel about Jaylen Brown, but I would trade him for James Harden.’ He was like, ‘ Are you kidding me? He’s not going anywhere. He’s not even 25 and he keeps getting better.'”

Ainge wasn’t wrong. Brown proceeded to have his best season to date, setting career highs in essentially every major offensive category including points (24.7), field goal percentage (48.4%), 3-point shooting (39.7%) and assists (3.4). Plus, if Brown’s 46-point explosion in Boston’s 2021-22 season opener is any indication, the Cal product’s trajectory is still headed north.

“And then all of a sudden, Danny didn’t make the trade, [Jaylen] made the All-Star team, had a breakout year, and now he just keeps getting better,” said Perkins. “Jaylen Brown is a true professional, he works hard, and people say he’s under-appreciated, but I would say people appreciate him now.”

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Did the Celtics Make the Right Call?

There’s no denying Harden’s greatness, but you can’t knock Boston for prioritizing youth and untapped potential as they look through a long-term scope. Yes, the Celtics are coming off their first round-one playoff exit since 2015-16. And yes, an 0-2 start to the 2021-22 campaign isn’t ideal, but with both Brown and Tatum at their disposal, Boston is equipped with arguably the league’s best sub-25-year-old duo.

With that said, don’t expect Brown’s name to disappear from trade talks — especially with Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard’s futures in flux. Just know, chances are those talks likely hold little weight.


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